Develop consensus on electoral reforms

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MINISTER for Information and Broadcasting, Chaudhry Fawad Hussain, has urged the Election Commission to take measures for holding the forthcoming local bodies and bye-elections through Electronic Voting Machines.

Briefing media persons about the decisions taken in the Federal Cabinet meeting, he said this will not only help overcome the shortcomings in the electoral process but also strengthen the people’s confidence in the Electronic Voting Machines.

Separately, speaking in the National Assembly, he said the Government wants to make the ECP strong.

There can be no two opinions that independence, neutrality and empowerment of the Election Commission is vitally linked to the holding of free, fair and transparent elections in the true sense of the word.

The ECP is one of the main stakeholders in the electoral process and it would be a fallacy to expect it to act as mere Post Office and keep mum over developments and moves that affect the process in any manner as, in the ultimate analysis, it is the Commission that has to bear the brunt of the criticism in case of electoral controversies and allegations of rigging as all witnessed in relation to breakdown of RTS in the last general elections.

It is a fact that the Government got the electoral reforms bill unilaterally adopted by the NA, which amounts to making a good move controversial because of deficient approach.

Surely, the use of EVMs in local and by-elections would help identify deficiencies but it is all the more important to first build consensus on the use of EVMs, removing concerns of all stakeholders.

 

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